New Ridley Scott film out

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Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

If anyone can shift their gaze from the Visayas
Can the focus be anywhere else but on our on brothers and sisters in Samar, Tacloban, other parts of Leyte, Cebu, Palawan?

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The devastation brought about by Typhoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan) has been unprecedented. It is such a highly emotional time and reactions to what is happening in the aftermath ranges from grief to anger to relief, from frustration to determination, and from shame to pride.

At a time like this, I feel a bit uneasy writing a column on pop culture and the arts. On subjects which this week happen to be far removed from the largeness of what just happened last weekend.

Amid the volunteer work and donating, the other part of my life did make an attempt to go on. I went to press screenings for two films, which opened on Wednesday: Love Bite and The Counselor.

I expected a bit more from Love Bite because—call me racist in a positive way—it was British, and the guy playing Jimmy in Downton Abbey is in it. Alas, at most, it was mildly funny. It’s a juvenile comedy much in the vein of American teenage lowbrow coming of age films in the ‘80s (Porky’s and the like) with a supernatural twist. Sometimes you think it’s capable of going somewhere but it always just drops the ball.

The Counselor boasts some very impressive credentials. Direction is by the legendary Ridley Scott and the words are from the multi-awarded (Pulitzer, Oscar, National Book Award) novelist, playwright and screenwriter Cormac McCarthy. In the cast are some of the finest men to eat up a screen—Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem (with yet another bad hairdo—is this becoming a trend after No Country For Old Men and Skyfall?).

Penelope Cruz is in too but her role is nowhere near as meaty as Cameron Diaz’s “Malkina.” This is Cameron as you have not seen her before. Unapologetic and in what I’d consider a breakthrough role. Forget that cute girl from My Best Friend’s Wedding and Charlie’s Angels.

Going back to having Cormac McCarthy on board, this film has more to offer in terms of gems of dialogue vs. thrills. The points to ponder fly by so fast though—I’m still trying to grasp the insight of one exchange then another comes along. Yes, you are constantly reminded the screenplay is from a fine-tuned mind.

Malkina: I don’t think I miss things. I think to miss something is to hope that it will come back, but it’s not coming back.

Reiner: You don’t think that’s a bit cold?

Malkina: The truth has no temperature.

I end this column with a thank you to everyone who has volunteered for and contributed to relief efforts. And on a personal note, to everyone far away who has reached out, it gives me a boost as I do what I can from where I am.

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